BELZ, small town in the Lvov district, Ukraine (between the world wars, in Poland). The Jewish settlement in Belz dates from the beginning of the 15th century. About 200 Jews inhabiting 32 houses are recorded in 1550. Two hundred Jews died during the *Chmielnicki uprising in 1648–49 and 60 children subsequently during the Swedish invasion (1660). The community later revived and became famous as a center of Ḥasidism. The rebbes of the Rokeaḥ dynasty (see next entry) officiated as rabbis of the community. Other noted rabbis of Belz include Joshua *Falk, Joel *Sirkes, Zechariah *Mendel, and Jonah Te'omim. In 1921 the Jews numbered 2,104 (50.7% of the total population). In May 1942, during the Nazi occupation, there were 1,540 Jews in Belz. About 1,000 were deported to the Sobibor death camp via *Hrubieszow. The remaining Jews were put to work on farms and after the harvest were deported to Sobibor, also via Hrubieszow. In 1970, Jews were living in the town and there was one synagogue there, but there was no community by the early 21st century.
Bleter far Geshikhte, 1–2 (1950), 78, table 5. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: PK Ukrainah, S.V.
[Nathan Michael Gelber /
Shmuel Spector (2nd ed.)]
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.